I finally managed to meet up with Rowan for coffee and lunch, after establishing that I’ve been walking past her flat several times a day since I got here. As a consequence, I now believe I know everything about next year’s Bicon, as my brain simply refused to process words such as “might”, “maybe”, “possibly”, “actually no” and the like. Lunch was vegetarian haggis tacos with guacamole, which made me suspect that either everything Scottish should be Mexicanised, or everything Mexican should be Scottified. I could certainly go with Tijuana Bagpipes.
I had to run off though as this was my best hope of seeing The Mechanisms’ new show, “High Noon Over Camelot”. I’m sure that if I wrote a story about gunslingers of the round table in space, no magazine would even read it (although come to think of it I think Circlet are soliciting such), but once again the whole thing worked excellently, even though the return of a couple of former Mechanisms meant that they were now a nine-piece on a five-piece stage. Once again I would find it impossible to justify why I love the band so much, but I know I’m not alone because at least one person told them afterwards that it was even better the second time around and that she’d been in tears at one point. I bought the CD with the minimum of obsequiousness and scuttled away.
Aware that I seemed to have spent a bit too much time watching absolute filth, I decided to watch Joanne Tremarco’s one-woman show which was billed as “untwisting the herstory of the world”. I therefore took my seat for Women Who Wank and was treated to a partly improvised show in which she seemed to spend half of it impersonating genitalia. I think that two things set her apart from anyone else. Firstly, her improvisations were largely based on gesture and body language - in fact, during the first five minutes, as she desperately tried to keep her hand away from her genitals at the sight of certain members of the audience, I wondered if the whole show would be mimed. Secondly, this was without doubt the most spirited yelling of the word “wankers!” at the two audience members who walked out that I’ve ever heard. In fact the biggest audience wanker was the man in the hat who forgot to switch his mobile off, and I deeply regret now that I didn’t do as she said and pass the phone over, because I think I’d be getting far fewer life insurance spam calls if they’d been forced to speak to a clitoris. Excellent stuff, I think, although not everyone in the audience got it. After this I went back to my room, only to be accosted by a Mechanism to whom I was able to pour out all the obsequiousness that I’d managed to avoid at the gig. She even gave me the flyer I needed to complete my collection.
In the evening I more or less randomly went to see Frenchy and the Punk, a two-piece steampunk bank in that most steampunk of venues, a bingo hall. They admitted that steampunk music only really meant music that steampunks listen to, but this was good stuff, although I wasn’t tempted by a CD.
I then moved on to the only show that really fell flat for me, The Widow, the Virgin and the Lamb. This claimed to be a “bouffon show”, and it’s possible that if I knew more about what that meant I might have appreciated it more. The Widow came on first, with blacked-out tooth and ghastly make-up, but it became clear that her only plan was to embarrass the audience rather than do anything funny or interesting (at one point she had people on stage playing I-Spy). The Virgin and the Lamb were better, Mary and Jesus apparently on a cheap flight and indulging in disco dancing. Some of it was funny but again, I had the idea that they were trying to be strange for the sake of it, rather than having a real surrealist sensibility. They also had some interaction with the audience, and at one point Jesus asked my name, said we’d known each other for 2000 years and that he liked my hat (I have more sense than to sit at the front at these shows). There were some good ideas but I felt that it had misfired, and by the end of it I was just relieved to get away.
(I’m a little embarrassed, by the way, that all of this is coming across as a set of reviews. I hate reviews, didn’t consult any before deciding where to go, and don’t understand why everyone else seems so obsessed about them. These notes are somewhat selfish attempts to say what mattered to me, and what didn’t, not to try to say anything meaningful about the acts themselves. If anyone disagrees with me, that only means they’re a different person, and I’d hate it if anyone avoided seeing an act simply because I didn’t get it - which is, after all, most likely to be a lack of understanding on my part and my loss.)
Anyway, it was my last night here, and I had a long drive back tomorrow, possibly in a car with bouffon brakes, so I decided to call it a night.
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